Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Bad Day For The Big Ten

Today is New Year's Day and it is usually a day filled with hopes, wishes, promises and changes. The Big Ten would love to shut their eyes and try for all those things again tomorrow.

The Big Ten went 0-5 in bowl games today. Not only did they lose every bowl on New Years, it was a collection of embarrassing results.

It all started in the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas. Not a big deal, but Northwestern lost to Texas Tech, 45-38. N'western continues their wait for another bowl victory -- they haven't won one since 1949.

The agony continued with the conferences Michigan schools getting pummelled by SEC teams simultaneously. In the Capital One Bowl, Michigan State were spanked by Alabama, 49-7. Michigan State, if you remember, was bent that Ohio State was selected for a BCS bid instead of them. Well, they sure didn't show up for this one.

A bit to the east in the Gator Bowl, Mississippi State just blew out Michigan, 52-14. If the Rich Rodriguez era does end in Ann Arbor, it sure ended on a negative note.

Move west to the Outback Bowl you'd see Penn State losing to Florida, 37-24. Of all the bowl losses today, the Big Ten can be proud of this one. This was a beauty of a game that was close down to the wire. The clincher was a Florida pick-six as Penn State was driving for a game winning TD.

And then the Rose Bowl. Look, TCU could/should be able to play for a national championship so losing to them isn't devastating. But this was a Wisconsin team that was hanging 70 points on people and they were shut down to just 19 against TCU. TCU became the first non-AQ school to win the Rose Bowl and, aside from the BCS title game, will be the most talked about bowl this season.

Even though it isn't a horrible loss, it still means that the Big Ten champion was beaten by a school from a non-BCS conference.

All the conference has left is Ohio State taking on Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. Arkansas is a heck of a team, but a loss would mean the Big Ten was 0-6 in bowl games in the New Year. It would also mean the Big Ten was 0-4 against the SEC.

If you wanted to pick some more nits, let me remind you that the next member of the Big Ten ... Nebraska ... was upset by Washington in the Holiday Bowl.

Heading into the day, the Big Ten was looking pretty good. Iowa upset Missouri in the Insight Bowl and Illinois dominated Baylor in the Texas Bowl. But with the complete letdown on this New Year's Day, the Big Ten heads back north with their tails between their legs.

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